Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Anticipated Cars

Anticipated Cars

When I was a kid, the next anticipated ‘improvement’ to cars would be hovercars. ‘The Jetsons’ cartoons also seemed to promise flying cars, but we figured they had to float before they could fly.
Floating cars were on our doorstep... almost. But they never arrived. Loooong before I could drive, I asked my dad what was taking so long to get hovercars ‘off the ground’.
Now, dad was a mechanic, with no formal schooling beyond high school, but his answer made sense to my less-than-10-years-old brain. The layer of air under the car had to support the car’s weight, so they had designed a rubber skirt around the bottom to keep the air from dispersing. However, they couldn’t control the car’s height precisely enough to keep the skirt touching the ground. I’ve accepted that explanation for over half a century.
Eventually, we stopped hearing about hover cars.
These days, the big thing is cars that drive themselves. Sounds good!
You see, I rather routinely drive to Orlando 2-4 times a year. In my car trunk, I have my suitcase, my husband’s luggage, my laptop, my cpap... sometimes I even take my sewing machine. Hubby flies down after a few days, and all he needs to bring is a bag of books to read and his cpap. By driving down, we don’t have to rent a car.
This is a 22-hour drive, straight through, but I can’t do that. I can’t even manage 11 hours of driving - between boredom and highway hypnosis - so it takes 3 days to get there. I love Orlando, but the drive is dreaded.
If the car drove itself, I could read, write, crochet, or just enjoy the scenery. The trip could be as enjoyable as the destination.
I imagine other transportation methods would undergo changes, if cars drove themselves. Flying is expensive, especially with luggage, so people may decide to use their car. Trains are as expensive as flying, take at least as long as driving, and the route might not be as direct, so why not take the car? As for buses... well, some things might not change that much.
Bring on the self-driving car! While you’re at it, make them electric, solar-powered, and re-chargeable in a few minutes, with plenty of recharge stations around the country.

Then we could really get somewhere.

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